THE WEST COAST BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Twelve years ago (1998) the West Coast Basketball League tipped off at the Basketball Centre in Richmond BC. As a twenty two year old commissioner/organizer/administrator/player, I was unsure how many “hats” I could manage to wear and still enjoy the product at hand. Over 900 games, a trio of three-peat champions, three new venues and an infinite number of memories, it is with a heavy heart to announce that the WCBL will not be taking to the court for the 2010-2011 season. With some of the finest talent that the Lower Mainland has produced on the hardcourt, the WCBL’s goal has been to provide an opportunity for these individuals and teams to showcase and develop their abilities against top notch players. Graced by the presence of players from the CIS, CCAA, National Team, and even the NBA (yes, there was once a confirmed Eric Mobley sighting!) the WCBL gave hardcourt diehards a place to chase championships and to create memories both on and off the court.
As per tradition for the next twelve years, the first season of the WCBL took to the hardcourt from the first weekend after Thanksgiving through the end of March/early April offering teams an eighteen game regular season schedule followed by the playoff battle for the WCBL crown. From the opening jump at the league’s original home at the Basketball Centre in Richmond, BC, the WCBL has housed a number of records that may not be duplicated any time soon.
A series of championship round trifectas kicked off in the first year, however it was one of a team falling short of title aspirations as Planet Fitness reached the final game for the first three years, dropping the inaugural crown to the Meralomas and the following two to the Team Ice Golgis (later renamed the ACNielsen Golgis). Highlighted by players such as Richard Cohee, Mike Clarke, Dave Smith, Axel Christiansen, Jay Guzman, Novell Thomas, Dana Maslovat and Scott Elliot (the only threepeat MVP in WCBL history!), the early years featured a number of players who not only physically dominated the game, but also dissected it from a mental approach, leading their teams to victory and cementing their names amongst the WCBL greats. However, as with any successful team, the need for glue guys was necessary as players such as Jack Deragopian, Setrak Merdinyan, Anthony Hajdu, Chad Caldwell, George Passmore, Doug Eberhardt and Anthony Booker to balance the floor and do the dirty work on either end of the court. With the departure of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the closure of the Basketball Centre, the WCBL bid adiu to Richmond after seven years, in which the Golgis and Meralomas each captured three straight titles following the ‘Lomas inaugural championship victory.
2009/2010 – FALCONS
2008/09 – FALCONS
2007/08 – FALCONS
2006/07 – XMEN
2005/06 – FALCONS
2004/05 – MERALOMAS
2003/04 – MERALOMAS
2002/03 – MERALOMAS
2001/02 – TEAM ICE GOLGIS
2000/01 – TEAM ICE GOLGIS
1999/00 – TEAM ICE GOLGIS
1998/99 – MERALOMAS
Following the departure from the Basketball Centre, the WBCL relocated to the North Delta area, spending one year at North Delta Secondary, before settling into Delview as their permanent residence. The new home brought in a cast of new talent and a jersey swap for some others. After capturing three straight titles between 99-02, the Golgis hoped with the addition of guard Randy Nohr and swingman Jeff Dallin to team with James Kenyon that they could return to the promise land. Prince Carino and Mio Kovacevic joined with the Runnin’ Rebels (formerly the Warriors and Planet Fitness) while Nick Toews (Ravens) and Bol Kong (X-Men) used the league in preparation for their college seasons and Pasha Bains (Drive /Falcons) joined following a highlight filled university career. Three new franchises joined the WCBL, as the Wildcats, X-Men and Falcons pursued the title and although the X-Men ran roughshod through the regular season standings for two years, they managed to clinch only one title, whereas the Falcons etched their name in the record books for four out of five years.
2009/10 – Randy Nohr (ACNielsen Golgis)
2008/09 – Randy Nohr (ACNielsen Golgis)
2007/08 – Pasha Bains (Falcons)
2006/07 – Aman Heran (Falcons)
2005/06 – Aman Heran (Falcons)
2004/05 – Jason Leslie (3D XMen)
2003/04 – Pete Morris (Meralomas)
2002/03 – Pete Morris (Meralomas)
2001/02 – Scott Elliot (Team Ice Golgis)
2000/01 – Scott Elliot (Team Ice Golgis)
1999/00 – Scott Elliot (Team Ice Golgis)
1998/99 – Rich Cohee (Meralomas)
While many of the names on the stat sheets changed from team to team and year to year, three names that remained constant for the dozen years were not ones that would be spotlighted in the headlines or leading the box scores. The Golgis’ Steve Beauchamp and Rick Mesich along with the Ravens/Nevermore Dan McGuire could be found year after year heading up their respectful squads. While the Golgis found success multiple times during the regular and playoff season, the Ravens despite their struggles returned each year giving their opponents all they could handle, often fielding one of the youngest rosters in the league.
WCBL ALL TIME SINGLE GAME HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORES
Dana Maslovat – 64pts
Mike Clarke – 62pts
Dave Smith – 57pts
Mike Clarke, Aman Heran – 56pts
Aman Heran – 55pts
Dave Smith, Randy Nohr – 54pts
Dana Maslovat, Mike Clarke (2x), Axel Christiansen – 51pts
Dana Maslovat, Randy Nohr (2x) – 50pts
Anthony Booker, Jason Leslie – 49pts
Novell Thomas – 48pts
James Kenyon – 47pts
Another dedicated trio of gentlemen helped shape the league for over a decade as officials Art Abram, Wayne Mah and Tom Sadler led the officiating crew and although some calls were not always agreed upon by the players, their commitment each weekend certainly warrants a salute and tip of the hat by the league. One underrated group that deserves a special thanks are the scorekeepers who helped keep the league stats and were a huge assistance every Sunday starting from the original crew of Travis and Matt Lightfoot and Yuen Chow at the Basketball Centre through to the student scorekeepers from Sands Secondary, Delview and Southridge who took over when the league moved to North Delta. Thanks is also given to Lawrie Johns (Basketball Centre), Clayton Owens (All Sport Insurance) and to Sue Gordon/Mary Maxwell (Delta School District), North Delta Secondary, Sands Secondary and Delview Secondary for their administrative help in housing the WCBL.
A very special thank you to all the league sponsors for all their generous donations towards the individual and team awards over the years. To Don Fennell and the Richmond Review for their constant media coverage of the WCBL for the first seven years. To Neil Diguangco for the countless hours of assistance with promotion, print and web design and patience. The final and most important thank you is sent out to my wife and daughter who for eight years have supported my desire to spend every Sunday from October through April in the gym. While it is my hope that the West Coast Basketball League will resurface in the near future, if this is in fact the end, I would like to thank every single person who participated and made the league what it was for the great run it had!
PS – For the first time in twelve years, I golfed on the third Sunday in October, and boy did I miss being in the gym!